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Explosion Kills Key Venezuelan Prosecutor

Associated Press
Saturday, November 20, 2004; Page A15

CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 19 -- A prosecutor pressing charges against backers of Venezuela's failed 2002 coup was killed by explosions that ripped through his SUV as he was driving through the capital, officials said Friday.

Witnesses said two explosions rocked Danilo Anderson's vehicle just before midnight Thursday as it traveled through the western Caracas neighborhood of Los Chaguaramos.

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A spokesman for President Hugo Chavez on Friday accused "terrorists" training in Florida of being behind the killing.

Anderson had been preparing charges against hundreds of Venezuelans who signed a document supporting Pedro Carmona when he was named interim leader during the coup that ousted Chavez for two days. Chavez was returned to power in a popular uprising.

As authorities called for calm Friday, hundreds of mourners watched while a coffin bearing Anderson's body was taken into the attorney general's office building in Caracas. Some wept; others angrily shouted, "Justice!"

Information Minister Andres Izarra said Anderson's assassination was meant to derail his investigation of those who supported the coup, in which 19 people were killed and almost 300 wounded.

Izarra blamed Venezuelans in Florida, echoing accusations by Chavez that Cuban and Venezuelan exiles were training in Florida to execute him and were using the media to call for his removal.

"We want the government of the United States to explain how it is that these terrorist groups act with total freedom in Florida," Izarra said.

Brian Penn, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, said the government of Venezuela had not provided information to support its charges.

"If we receive it, we are prepared to investigate any serious information," Penn said.


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